The european research icebreaker AURORA BOREALIS : conceptual design study - summary report = Der europäische Forschungseisbrecher AURORA BOREALIS : Konzeptioneller Schiffsentwurf - Abschlussbericht

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SUMMARY Dedicated research vessels that are capable to operate during all seasons of the year and under unfavourable weather conditions in the central Arctic Ocean and in the Southern Ocean are required to fulfil the new needs of polar ocean research for all marine disciplines. Today, no available research vessel has these required capabilities. Thus, the initiative was taken to develop a novel and dedicated research icebreaker with technical capabilities hitherto unrealised, which will enable the vessel to autonomously operate in the Arctic Ocean even during the severest ice conditions in the deep winter serving all marine disciplines of polar research including deep-sea drilling: The AURORA BOREALIS. The technical conceptual design of this research icebreaker with scientific deepsea drilling capability AURORA BOREALIS is summarised in this report. AURORA BOREALIS is planned to be a „European scientific flagship facility‟ open to non-European partners, a multidisciplinary platform for studies ranging from the sub-seafloor into the atmosphere. The ability of AURORA BOREALIS to penetrate into the harshest conditions on Earth and to carry out research in the polar winter can set new standards in the fields of polar research and naval architecture, including environmental safety and sustainability of the highest standards. Currently, no polar research vessel has the capability to autonomously operate in pack ice outside the optimal ice conditions of the late summer season. AURORA BOREALIS, in contrast, is planned as a multi-purpose icebreaking research vessel for Arctic and Antarctic operations with the capability to autonomously navigate in sea-ice with a thickness of more than 2.5 metres. This will for the first time facilitate year-round research, e.g. on the nature of global environmental change. The ship shall have the unique capability to perform scientific deep-sea drilling operations in water depths between 100 and 5000 metres with a penetration of more than 1000 metres into the seafloor, even while being located amid drifting pack-ice fields. To perform these drilling operations AURORA BOREALIS has to be kept exactly on position. A dynamic positioning system capable for manoeuvring and staying on position in drifting sea-ice is mandatory for this task – an absolute novelty in the shipping industry. Another unique characteristic of AURORA BOREALIS are the two moon pools (7 x 7 meters each) in the midst of the hull that reach into the water below the vessel and enable scientists to deploy equipment into the ocean without being subject to wind, waves and ice. The aft moon pool is mainly dedicated to drilling operations, while the forward moon pool is reserved for most other scientific equipment. This allows as a first the deployment of very sensitive and expensive equipment, e.g. remotely operated (ROVʼs) or autonomous (AUVʼs) underwater vehicles within completely closed sea ice cover. Scientific laboratories are located on several decks around the moon pool, which is designed in an atrium-like shape with circular walkways and preparation areas. In order to optimally equip the ship even for mission specific expeditions, containerized laboratories can be also loaded here and become fully integrated into the scientific workflow on board.

Item Type
"Berichte zur Polar- und Meeresforschung" (Expedition reports)
Publication Status
Eprint ID
DOI 10.2312/BzPM_0637_2011

Cite as
Lembke-Jene, L. , Biebow, N. and Thiede, J. (2011): The european research icebreaker AURORA BOREALIS : conceptual design study - summary report = Der europäische Forschungseisbrecher AURORA BOREALIS : Konzeptioneller Schiffsentwurf - Abschlussbericht , Berichte zur Polar- und Meeresforschung (Reports on Polar and Marine Research), Bremerhaven, Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, 637 , 95 p. . doi: 10.2312/BzPM_0637_2011

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